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Amal Al Qubaisi visits Maelbeek station in Brussels to pay tribute to terror attack victims

posted on 29/04/2016

BRUSSELS: A delegation from the Federal National Council, headed by Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of Federal National Council, FNC, has visited Maelbeek metro station in central Brussels, to pay tributes to the people who were killed by a terrorist suicide bomber last month.

On behalf of the United Arab Emirates, the delegation, who was received by David Sassoli, Vice-President of the European Parliament, placed a wreath at the station's entrance in honour of the victims.

Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, also wrote a letter of tribute, on a commemorative wall inside the station, expressing her sympathy and solidarity with the Belgian people and condemned the heinous crime which targeted innocent civilians of a city that represents a model of tolerance and co-existence between different cultures and religions.

Al Qubaisi stressed that such cowardly criminal acts of aggression are incompatible with human values of respect for the sacred right to life, tolerance, freedom and peace, which are the core values of Belgian society, adding that these acts only increase the UAE's and Belgium's determination to intensify mutual efforts and collaborations to fight terrorism and dry out its resources.

During her visit, the FNC Speaker also met with some of the families of victims where she personally expressed her condolences and emphasised that terrorism goes against the teachings of Islam which is of love, peace and tolerance. Emirates News Agency, WAM -


President of European Parliament praises FNC Speaker's stance condemning terrorism

posted on 29/04/2016

BRUSSELS: Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, has lauded the firm stance of Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of Federal National Council, in condemning terrorism and denouncing violence, thanking her for the noble and symbolic tribute she placed in honour of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Brussels.

These comments were made during European Parliament's plenary session yesterday, following Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi's visit to Maelbeek metro station, where she strongly condemned the heinous act of terrorism and placed a wreath in honour of the victims. Al Qubaisi also wrote a message expressing her sympathy and solidarity with the people of Belgium on a commemorative wall at the station.

Addressing the session and Dr. Al Qubaisi, the President of the European Parliament welcomed the FNC Speaker and thanked her for expressing her resolute and unwavering position against terrorism. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Al Qubaisi stresses UAE is strategic partner to EU

posted on 29/04/2016

BRUSSELS: Elmar Brok, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee at European Parliament (EP), has said that the UAE is a strategic partner to EU member states, and welcomed its co-operation with the EP given the country's effective role regarding the Middle East issues.

This came during a meeting held by Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC) with Brok.

During the meeting attended by Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al Zaabi, Second Deputy Speaker of the FNC; Ali Jassim; Afra Rashid Al Basti, and Dr. Saeed Al Mutawa; Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazrouei, Head of the UAE's Mission to the European Union (EU), and UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the two sides discussed the development and future government plans.

Dr. Al Qubaisi said the UAE leadership seeks to consolidate happiness, tolerance and peace as basic principles in the Arab region despite the instability being experienced by some neighbouring countries.

She offered condolences for the victims of the recent blasts in Paris and Brussels. She also expressed her sympathy with the families of the victims, stressing the importance of the international community to combat terrorism, eschew hate speech and encourage cultural dialogue.

The FNC speaker underlined that Islam should not be linked with the discourse of extremist groups, which seeks to revive the medieval era agenda.

Brok said he supports the viewpoints of the UAE regarding terrorism which should not be linked with Islam, pledging that he would convey the UAE's ideas to EP members.

Regarding Iran's interference in the Arab and Gulf region, the EP official said he urged Iranian officials, in a meeting, to cease conflicts and interference in the affairs of other countries. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abdullah bin Zayed joins staff 2nd walk session

posted on 29/04/2016

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, joined on Wednesday, the Ministry's staff second walk session, held at the Corniche as part of the healthcare programme launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The event follows the conclusion of the 10th gathering of Ambassadors and Heads of Missions Abroad, held at the ministry under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The walk session began from the ministry to Sheraton at the Corniche for a distance of eight kilometres with the participation of ambassadors and heads of the UAE diplomatic missions abroad, as well as the staff and their families.

Sheikh Abdullah said the ministry's sports initiative is part of the UAE government's agenda, and also comes in line with the UAE vision 2021. He noted that the initiative aims at encouraging the staff to adopt a healthy lifestyle to keep diseases at bay. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


International Conference on Preventing and Countering Radicalisation and Violent Extremism commences in Abu Dhabi

posted on 29/04/2016

The International Conference on Preventing and Countering Radicalisation and Violent Extremism, has focused on threats posed by the Foreign Terrorist, FTF, with an aim of raising awareness on the importance of developing an effective preventive strategy against radicalisation and violent extremism.

The three-day conference which began on Tuesday was co-organised by Hedayah, the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and is bringing more than 60 experts in national criminal justice and law enforcement officials, policy-makers and civil society representatives.

Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Hedayah Steering Board, commended these kinds of international conferences, which are helping put in place legal and judicial mechanisms for developing good practices and criminal justice, as well as procedural and administrative measures to address the threat of FTFs on the regional and international level.

In his opening remarks, Maqsoud Kruse, Executive Director of Hedayah, highlighted the vital importance in sharing sophisticated and realistic good practices and approaches for preventing violent extremism by raising awareness and reducing threats.

Mauro Miedico, UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch Representative, said, "Terrorism needs to be tackled at its roots and combating it alone is insufficient. We need to seek prevention, especially since violent extremism is not rooted in any specific region, religion, nationality or ethnic group".

"Military and legal intervention is not enough any more the issue of violent extremism is one involving social, economic, historic and psychological institutions. This is also why centres such as Hedayah focus on research and skill building to generate the expertise and knowledge required for combating this dangerous phenomenon," he said.

Dr. Hatem Aly, UNODC Office for the GCC Region Representative, underscored the importance of the strategic partnership between UNODC and Hedayah, as the premier international hub for CVE policy makers, practitioners and researchers to enhance understanding and share good practices.

The conference aims to produce a list of recommendations and outcomes in relation to good practices and ways forward in developing CVE strategic policies and preventive programmes at the regional and international level. Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Masdar passes 10-Year milestone

posted on 29/04/2016

Yesterday, Masdar employees and alumni gathered in Masdar City to mark ten years of achievement in advancing the clean energy industry in Abu Dhabi and around the world.

Under the banner "Seizing the Next Decade," participants were invited to reflect on Masdar's significant and widespread impact to date and the promise of the next ten years, as part of an organisation defined by the spirit of partnership, collaboration and innovation.

During the breakfast reception, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, and Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market, were honoured for their contribution to Masdar's success.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, Minister of Higher Education, members of Masdar's board of directors, and associates from Mubadala Development Company also attended the breakfast gathering, including Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer of Mubadala Petroleum, and Carlos Obeid, Group Chief Financial Officer at Mubadala.

In his opening remarks, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, described the company's impact over the last decade and outlined his vision for the company in the years ahead.

"The last ten years of Masdar have truly been a decade of innovation. We have grown from a bold initiative into a global enterprise driving the adoption of clean energy and sustainable development. We are a major investor in renewable energy, deploying new capacity around the world and increasingly here in the region. We are building the world's most sustainable city, home to the world's first graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies. And we are the hub of the global sustainability debate, thanks to platforms such as Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week."

Dr. Nawal Al Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and Director of Sustainability at Masdar, was also commended for her outstanding contribution to advancing the role of women in education, renewable energy and sustainability.

Masdar employees completing ten years of service were also recognised at the anniversary event.

Masdar begins the next decade having built a strong global brand and a robust financial and technical foundation. The company achieved sustained profitability across its business units in 2015. Its renewable energy arm has deployed 1 gigawatt of clean energy and has another 0.7 under development.

Masdar City is set to expand to 35% of its planned built-up area in the next five years as part of its journey building a ‘greenprint' for cities of the future. Masdar is also undertaking pioneering innovation in the critical fields of renewable powered desalination, carbon capture, utilisation and storage, and energy and battery storage.

"Our goal over the next 10 years is to strengthen the position of clean energy in the global energy mix, and the international standing of the UAE as a responsible energy leader," added Al Ramahi.

"By continuing to make clean energy commercially viable, we are helping to protect the planet, to inspire innovation and new industries, and to diversify not only the economy of the UAE but economies around the world. We have ambitious aims, and over the last ten years we have taken steady steps towards them every day."

Masdar was launched on April 23, 2006 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company was mandated to support the diversification of the UAE's economy through advancing the development, deployment and commercialisation of renewable energy and clean technology.

A series of educational installations at Masdar City offer visitors a further insight into Masdar's journey and achievements since it was founded. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Ahmed bin Saeed officially opens the new Concourse D

posted on 29/04/2016

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, opened officially yesterday the Concourse D building at the Dubai International Airports.

The 60 major international airlines operating out of the new Concourse D at Dubai International were given a royal reception when Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, welcomed representatives at an official opening ceremony organised by Dubai Airports.

He interacted with airline representatives and toured the new facility as part of the event, which follows the successful opening of Concourse D on February 24 earlier this year.

"These airlines play an important role in making Dubai one of the most connected cities in the world. We highly value our airline partners and our mutual customers – the hundreds of thousands of passengers that pass through our airport every day, which is why we have invested US$ 1.2 billion in the development of a state of the art Concourse D and major upgrades to Terminal 1," Sheikh Ahmed said.

He added, "As many as 60 airlines operate out of Concourse D, operating 350 flights every day to 90 destinations around the world. Considering the large and diverse customer base to which the new facility caters, the range of products, services, retail and food and beverage offerings, were chosen after careful consideration and in line with a detailed commercial strategy. We wanted to put the customer at the heart of that design and ensure that the whole passenger layout, including the design of retail and dining areas, was created from the traveller's perspective."

Concourse D features an exciting line-up of world-renowned brands being introduced for the first time – including casual dining concept The Kitchen by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, the first Pret a Manger in a Middle Eastern airport, as well as Butlers Chocolate Cafe featuring a total of 21 food concessions, Concourse D is also home to CNN Travellers Cafe for news junkies, as well as Masale: The Taste of India, in addition to scores of other popular brands already operating at DXB's other terminals.

The new concourse offers plenty of comfortable seating spaces and wellbeing concepts such as Be Relax and ‘SnoozeCubes' which provide a convenient way to rest between flights. It also features a total of nine lounges spread over 6,926m2, including five airline lounges, a new Al Majlis lounge, two Dubai International Hotel lounges and a Marhaba VIP lounge.

Dubai Duty Free at Concourse D is 8400m2 of open, walk-through retail environment offering the widest range of retail brands.

Concourse D has increased DXB's annual capacity from 75 million to 90 million passengers, enabling the world's number one hub for international passengers to accommodate the on-going rapid growth in traffic. Emirates News Agency, WAM -


DP World reports 3.7% gross volume growth in Q1 of 2016

posted on 29/04/2016

DP World Limited handled 15.5 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) across its global portfolio of container terminals during the first quarter of 2016, with gross container volumes growing by 3.7% on a reported basis, and up 2.4% on a like-for-like1 basis, DP World Chairman, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, said yesterday during a meeting the Annual General Meeting for the year ended 31 December 2015.

In his statement regarding operational performance in the first quarter of 2016, he said, 'First quarter growth was largely driven by a stronger performance from our European and Indian subcontinent terminals. Conditions in Latin America remain challenging while the UAE handled 3.6 million TEU, down 5.9% year-on-year due to loss of lower-margin cargo.

"At a consolidated2 level, our terminals handled 7.2 million TEU during the first quarter of 2016, a 2.3% improvement in performance on a reported basis and down 0.4% year-on-year on a like-for-like3 basis.

"Despite the challenging operating environment, we are pleased to see that our portfolio continues to deliver ahead of market volume growth,' he noted.

"Our new developments in Rotterdam (Netherlands), Nhava Sheva (India) and Yarimca (Turkey) are now operational and are expected to deliver an increasing contribution in the second half of 2016. The additional 2 million TEU of capacity at Jebel Ali (UAE) and 1 million TEU of capacity in London Gateway (UK) are on course to be delivered in mid-2016, which will offer further room for growth.

"Overall, we remain well positioned to grow volumes ahead of the market, while we continue to focus on driving profitability by targeting higher margin cargo, improving efficiencies and managing costs. Our encouraging start to the year gives us confidence in meeting full year market expectations." - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


ERC builds housing city for cyclone-hit population in Socotra

posted on 29/04/2016

The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for a housing city for thousands of people affected by cyclones Chapala and Meg which hit the Yemeni island of Socotra last October and November, respectively. The cyclones caused heavy rains and strong winds that seriously damaged or destroyed houses and services facilities.

Mohammed Yousuf Al Fahim, ERC Deputy Secretary-General for Support Services, led a delegation to the ground-breaking ceremony which was also attended by Brigadier Salem Abdullah Isa, Governor of Socotra, and a number of senior officials.

ERC Secretary General Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi said the project, which comes in implementation of instructions given by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and follow up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the ERC, will include 220 housing units to shelter hurricane-effected islanders who will enjoy health, educational and basic services.

'The city is considered a qualitative, paradigm shift in the ERC's development initiatives in the Indian Ocean archipelago which is facing tremendous humanitarian and developmental challenges as a result of natural catastrophes,' Al Falahi added.

He said the city will be completed by the end of the year.

Brigadier Salem Abdullah Isa, Governor of Socotra, said the ERC response to the humanitarian situation in the island has been effective and more than expected in brining life to a pre-cycle state.

He noted that the island was badly in need of the ERC's initiatives in areas of relief, healthcare, educational, water and electricity and other essential services following the damage to facilities meted out by cyclones.

The ERC, he noted, was leading the humanitarian initiatives in the island because of its field presence and close monitoring of the situation in the island.

He thanked the ERC for launching humanitarian initiatives that contributed to improving the living conditions of the islanders.

'The ERC is one of the key partners in the reconstruction efforts in the island, he said in conclusion.

Al Fahim said the housing project is part of a co-operation agreement the ERC signed with the Governorate of Socotra to fund and implement a number of development and reconstruction projects.

'The WRC will spare no effort in helping the Yemeni brothers to improve their humanitarian conditions,' he stressed.

The delegation also distributed humanitarian assistance and food. Fishermen in the island received boats instead of ones damaged by cyclones.

The ERC is currently working on maintaining the fish market and building a breakwater to protect the island from cyclones. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -